Is there good reason anymore to have 2 Sonic designs?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by High Fidelity, Mar 1, 2020.

  1. Pengi

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    I agree. I think a lot of the time they're aware of the contradictions. They'll decide "previously it worked like that, but going forward, it works like this".

    With Classic Sonic being a separate universe now, I don't think the intention was to solve existing continuity problems (Chaotix, Super Emeralds, two Death Egg 2s), but it inadvertently does.

    Similarly, the decision that Sonic and humans live in two different worlds that sometimes cross over raises a lot of questions about the Sonic Adventure games, but has the side effect of solving the big contradiction between Sonic Advance 3 and Sonic Unleashed.

    Which games' art styles don't you think were done with intent?

    With Sonic Mania, it's obvious what they were going for, and they achieved it.

    Shadow the Hedgehog looked the way it did by design.

    Sonic Riders' futuristic extreme sports world was also by design.

    Sonic 2006's "Sonic in the real world" approach was by design.

    There's a clear intent behind all of those games, just like Zelda.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2020
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  2. Aesculapius Piranha

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    There are distinct compromises between styles for each of those games except for Mania. Boom would have been a better argument, and even that is a clear attempt to reboot the brand rather than a re imagining to deliver a unique player experience. Comparing these all to LoZ's very deliberate choices is fairly confused. Even with Mania it was a throwback to an older style which was beautiful and effective, but was more of a corrective action than it was a bold statement in style and design.
     
  3. Pengi

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    In what way? How is going from Sonic Heroes to Sonic 2006 to Sonic Unleashed any different than going from Wind Waker to Twilight Princess to Skyward Sword?
     
  4. Aesculapius Piranha

    Aesculapius Piranha

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    The best word that comes to mind is "thoughtfulness."
     
  5. Zephyr

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    I mean, I think we can at least in part blame the fracturing of the fanbase on the plurality of designs, since that's the line along which much of the fracturing has happened. On the other hand, the fanbase likely would have fractured along age lines anyway (as it currently is), so who knows. Mix of causes.

    But yeah, damage done. It's too late, either way. There's use in acknowledging it and extrapolating from it, but none in bemoaning it.
     
  6. I'd blame allot of the fracturing on the 2 main camps that have formed within the community. The younger crowd, that grew up with the 'bad' Sonic games, and are more forgiving of their shortcomings because of that, and the older fans - who have seen the steady decline of the franchise since those newer games. Now I'm really not attacking younger fans here, but that's how I am observing it.

    Also If the games where actually good (like Zelda as mentioned before) then the style shifts would sit alot more comfortably.
     
  7. Frostav

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    I'm less interested in merging the two designs than simply giving modern Sonic the visual style and aesthetics of classic Sonic. Let's be completely real here: there is nothing in classic's visual toolkit that precludes stuff like big urban metropolises (Studiopolis, Casino Night, Spring Yard, etc.) or high-tech military bases (Scrap Brain, Metropolis, etc.) and places like the Ark and its incredibly striking style would fit with the surrealism of the classic series very well with a slight tweaking. I just don't see why modern has to lose this kind of style. You wouldn't even have to change it a lot. Sonic Team's idiotic attempts at chasing realism throughout the early days of 3D Sonic should be left in the past. There's no reason we can't have e.g City Escape except it takes cues from Studiopolis to create a truly unique aesthetic and style. Even then, I would be fine with Sonic Team just scrapping the current 3D world and starting from scratch. Incorporate the classic Zones (hell most of them are on isolated islands anyway so they can be neatly shoved in a corner and undisturbed!) and just bring in new ones. We can have shit like GUN and the ARK, it'll just be in a far far more interesting world. I mean, shit, the 3D titles don't even have a unified style. Places like Pumpkin Hill and City Escape are so visually incoherent it's borderline silly.

    Like, I can't see anyone complaining about this. Most modern fans don't have some super close connection to the 3D titles' zones outside of a few places like the Ark (and that could be dropped in this new world entirely without little change). Most classic fans would probably love seeing Sonic Team's admittedly great art designers bring the surrealism of the classic series to 3D. And it'd finally give an identity to the series that remained consistent across the whole series. It's a win-win for everyone.

    The great thing about the classic aesthetic is that you can do basically anything in it. Ruins, pastoral nature, hi-tech bases/factories, snow mountains, raging volcanoes, urban cities, casinos, blah blah blah you get the point. It really is one of the most versatile aesthetics in gaming. Mania introduced a giant TV studio city, a Japanese sakura garden printing press, and a dusty desert saloon and they all fit perfectly into it without any clash. Such a waste on Sonic Team's part...x__x
     
  8. Josh

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    I couldn't agree more, and you said it better than I could have. :D

    This question is something that's been galvanizing the fandom the past few years. There's NO OTHER FRANCHISE like Sonic. There's not another video game series that scratches that itch the same way it does, and I think that's why you tend to get such passionate Sonic fans. But lately, it's felt like we're starving for content. Look at it this way: In the three-year period from 2006-2009, widely agreed at the time to be the worst time the series had ever seen, Sonic _still_ got EIGHT non-mobile games released. But in the past three years, there have been just three: Mania, Forces, and Team Sonic Racing.

    This leads to a lot of in-fighting, a lot of consternation over whether or not YOUR favorite version of the character or gameplay is going to be viable. Mania and Forces are polar opposites in both style and critical reception, and them standing as the last new mainline releases makes this even worse. Three years ago, old-school fans basically got our dream game, and it was the most successful entry in at least 15 years, amplifying the notion that THIS was the way Sonic was supposed to be. Meanwhile, no matter what you want out of a Sonic game, it's unlikely Forces had enough of it to satisfy you. AND of course, Classic Sonic was in it too, leading some people to scapegoat him as the reason it turned out this way.

    Basically, 2D Sonic got what fans of 2D Sonic had always wanted, while 3D Sonic got an incredibly disappointing game that ALSO tried to give 2D fans what they wanted. That's why they're lashing out against Classic Sonic as a concept. I think if Forces had actually managed to satisfy fans of 3D Sonic games, we wouldn't be here, and I'm hopeful that whatever the 30th anniversary game(s) are, they'll at least give us something new to look forward to and argue about. :P

    To answer the question: Personally, I would _love_ for there to be a single, unifying design for Sonic going forward. One Sonic, used in 2D side-scrollers, 3D platformers, spinoffs, across all media... it'd be AMAZING. The problem is, the only way I would ever be happy is if it was this one:
    [​IMG]

    Not that I _hate_ the modern design or anything, but I'd never be okay with Sega just putting this Sonic, MY Sonic, out to pasture. And since I know there are tons of fans who feel the same way I do, but about the OTHER design, I don't see us leaving behind this era of (at least) two Sonics. Sega's really gotten themselves into a conundrum here. A triple-A Sonic title needs to sell to as wide of a cross-section of fans as possible to justify its high development cost, and I suspect that's why Forces turned out the way it did.
     
  9. Gestalt

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    It would be absolutely lovely if we had more artwork in the style of SA2 or the Advance series that features scenes from the games and not just the characters. How should we know who these characters really are if all they do is strike some random ass poses? During the old school days we didn't had to close the imaginary gap between the characters and the locations because the promo art was better.
     
  10. Aesculapius Piranha

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    I love Sonic's classic design particularly regarding Naoto Oshima's work. I am not a fan of the Adventure designs. (ed: As much as I love Chao!) Still, I think pretending like these various looks never happened is not the way to go. I'd rather embrace the idea that Sonic's design and feel is something that has been reinterpreted and could be interpreted again in an artistically interesting way. I've already cited the franchise that I feel has done this best as an example, but by no means what Sonic to just be that. Rather, I'd like to be open to the idea that moving forward SEGA could view the various reinterpretations as a strength and do this more deliberately with different entries rather than feeding a fan dichotomy of what style was best. I'd rather see SEGA innovate than constantly failing to please everyone. I think Mania sent a strong message as did the movie in terms of listening to the fanbase. Mania revisited so much that made Sonic work before and the new movie tried something new and bold without just completely ignoring key parts of Sonic's design. Both entries had an identity that was solid. As much as I loved forces, particularly the Avatar levels and customization and Infinite as a rival, there was a lot of confusion in identity in plot and gameplay. I think this sort of thing has hurt the series. I want to see more Sonic games that know what they want to be even if it isn't my perfect world of Oshima pop-art Sonic or a revisit to Studio Pierrot's vision of Sonic complete with great sounding 80s/early 90s house inspired synthy soundtracks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
  11. I don't understand the perceived need to only have one specific design when other franchise thrive on constantly reiterating on their design. (See Batman and like every other superhero comic character) And considering how strongly people are split between the two designs, it's not feasible without offending half of the fanbase.
     
  12. Powpuck

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    The thing with Batman, is again the accessibility. Growing up my parents had basic cable (later basic satellite). I essentially had free access to several iteration of Batman running concurrently: Movie Batman, DCAU Batman, Adam West Batman, Super Friends Batman, Scooby-Doo Batman (yes, really), Hanna-Barbera Batman, Filmation Batman.

    This isn't even getting into the various video game adaptations, because games are expensive and hard to obtain as a kid. And even when games are liquidated you still need the relevant hardware to run them, not a lot of kids have the funds, time, or space for that non-sense (if the hardware is still even functional). Sure compilations occasionally come later--albeit almost never for license-ware, so bespoke game IPs have that one advantage--and they're cheap... pending you're an adult with income who is already vested in those games, i.e., not some kid. Sure these days games--particularly Wii games--are available at local libraries, but the Wii games all suck, and good luck they're not scratched to all hell.

    What non-game media of Sonic is freely available to kids, or at least within their allowances (on the off-chance such a kid is well off enough to even have an allowance; I sure never got one)? I'll venture to guess it's basically Sonic X, the DiC shows for basic streaming platforms. There are Mania Adventure and Team Sonic Racing Adventures on Youtube (As I'm only counting legally available media, I'm ignoring Sonic OVA, but at over a million YT views it'd foolish to outright ignore it). Is Boom still airing in reruns, I honestly haven't a clue.

    Ostensibly that's a fair spread of "Modern" and "Classic." However it's harder to reconcile DiC Sonic as "Classic" more so now than it was way back when. That just leaves Mania Adventures as the sole representative of "Classic" Sonic available to the lowest common denominator.

    This could be somewhat ameliorated with a Classic IDW Sonic comic, but there isn't one; there is only Modern IDW Sonic.
     
  13. MartiusR

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    I was generally fine about 2 designs until they've decided to put both in one game. And they didn't stop on one game...

    So, purerly hypothethically, if someone in Sega would decide, that up from this moment in all games we've got only "modern Sonic" (whatever that means), I would be absolutely fine - seeing "older" Sonic (by older I mean character's age, not the moment when he was designed) in 2D platform games makes me feeling that this particular character design suits well for both 2D and 3D platform games.

    It's my personal opinion - but silent "classic" Sonic annoys me in every entry where he's introduced together with "modern" design. In fact, I don't like as well his 3D design made for Sonic Generations (and later games).
     
  14. TheKazeblade

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    Sega are scared of alienating a large portion of the fanbase which is probably why they will never consolidate, but I also think most fans, while they will be up in arms about their preferred design going away, will never actually stop playing Sonic over it, making the idea of multiple designs coexisting moot.

    I'm all for consolidating into one design (keeping the possibility open for assortments of alternate art styles like the Mario series does) and using it for the different types of gameplay styles. The Advance titles proves Modern Sonic can work for (competent) Classic gameplay and more Saturn-leaning Classic designs are more than adequate for 3D titles which is why it was being considered originally for Adventure prior to pushing development to the Dreamcast.

    Sonic's design has zero bearing on actual gameplay, but has huge ramifications on the discourse of the fanbase. Consolidation would cause a huge uproar at the beginning, but I honestly think that's worth ignoring for the long-term benefits of brand consistency. Whether that takes the form of choosing either a form of Classic Sonic only or Modern Sonic only character design, or even a totally new hybrid version (or Saturn Classic, my personal favorite), whichever they choose I can accept any of them for the sake of that brand consistency.
     
  15. SomeSortOfRobot

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    Two is not enough Sonic designs.
    We need 12 at least.
     
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  16. Lapper

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    Imo the stupid decision to redesign in the first place is the issue let's just roll it all back thanks.

    Also, movie Sonic is the only good looking Modern Sonic to me (or any time when he's drawn in 2D). I'd prefer US boxart classic Sonic to ingame modern.

    Blegh
     
  17. Wildcat

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    Like I said before I view Modern Sonic’s design as him older (slimmer, taller, slightly more mature face) even though he’s basically the same age in both portrayals. Part of why I like this is because it’s like he aged along with me. Including everyone else too. Plus he looks cool imo.

    That’s not to say I’ll be against any updated design. It could be the same difference. I would have been fine if Boom’s design was his next phase. I’d probably think of it the same way. If I had a choice Id pick Movie Sonic to continue just because of how good he looks in a “real” format.
     
  18. If this has been said before, I apologize for not reading, but every time I see this topic my dyslexia kicks in, and I keep thinking the topic's about Sonic 2's designs. :rolleyes:

    Anyways, I have a soft spot for both designs, the sub designs between them and many others. As far as what to keep, it's hard to say. Maybe it was just too much of a drastic change as to why and how Sega backed themselves in a corner like this-- the design transition wasn't gradual enough to begin with.

    Unlike Pokemon or Mario games for example, many characters from those series changed quite a bit, and was subtle. (Does anybody realize that Yoshi no longer is a short armed dinosaur, or Pikachu used to be fat?!)
     
  19. Dek Rollins

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    I hate skinny Pikachu actually. :p
     
  20. Powpuck

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    [​IMG]